Mao: I will continue serving as Museveni's minister and DP president

In this screengrab taken from NTV Uganda, Opposition DP party President Nobert Mao (R) addresses journalists as party Secretary General, Gerald Siranda (L) looks on at Parliament on July 22, 2022. 

What you need to know:

  • Uganda’s legislative body Friday finished a crucial process that formalizes Mao’s crossover to a government he has fiercely criticized for more than two decades.
  • The DP president and his right-hand man, Siranda, face an ouster by top DP members but Mao remorseless about a deal sealed after long-drawn-out negotiations with the State.

The Justice and Constitutional Affairs Minister appointee Nobert Mao has vowed not to step down as Opposition Democratic Party (DP) President, setting tone for battles that await Uganda’s oldest political organization.

“The constitution of DP and the cooperation agreement (with Mr Museveni) are not mutually exclusive. I signed it as president of DP and will continue exercising my duty as DP president,” Mao said on Friday.

Mao, 55, was Friday approved by Parliament a day after what he described as an “unusual appointment” to President Museveni’s cabinet in a seismic July 21 move.

But Mao is faced with an ouster by sections of outraged senior DP members.

“I have heard voices calling for me to step aside. The reason would have been for instance if members said I will be too busy. That one I would listen,” Mao remarked on Friday.  

The ex-Gulu City chairperson had Thursday evening said in accepting the position “after year-long consultations,” he was daring to put a rare post-Museveni pitch for “transition.”

Opposition DP party President Nobert Mao (R) appears before the Parliament Appointments Committee chaired by House Speaker Anita Among (R) on July 22, 2022. PHOTO/COURTESY  

Top DP figures accuse Mao, 55, and his right-hand man but also DP Secretary General, Gerald Siranda, of selfishly participating in a nonbinding deal -concluded July 20 with Mr Museveni- poised to generate extreme rifts in the party founded nearly 70 years ago.

But Mao is remorseless about the deal sealed after long-drawn-out negotiations with the State.

“The venomous outburst which I heard definitely shows that many of our members have not yet internalized the implications of this agreement,” he told journalists at Parliament on Friday.

The veteran politician July 21 added; “It is important that DP has a leadership which is committed to those issues.”

On Friday, the House also approved Agago woman MP Beatrace Akori as state minister for economic monitoring.

I will not quit DP presidency- Mao

In a mini-cabinet reshuffle on Thursday, Mr Museveni repositioned Akori's predecessor Peter Ogwang to replace Education and Sports State Minister Hamson Obua who was appointed government chief whip.

The appointees now await swearing in at a yet to be disclosed date. 

Parliament has also cleared 16 judicial officers recently appointed by Mr Museveni.

Approved High court Judges:

•    Ikit Mary
•    Douglas Singiza Karekona
•    Flavia Matovu Nassuna
•    Samuel Emokor
•    Susan Kanyange
•    Bernard Namanya
•    Patricia Kahiigi Asiimwe
•    Thomas Ojele Rubanga
•    Christine Kaahwa
•    Patricia Mutesi
•    George Okello
•  Faridah Shamilah  Bukirwa
•    Harriet Grace Magala
•    Collins Acellam
•    Ceila Nagawa
•     Allan Paul Mbabazi Nshimye

The Parliament Appointments Committee chaired by House Speaker Anita Among (in green) vets new leaders and judicial officers on July 22, 2022. PHOTO/COURTESY